Two NGOs - Animal Liberation Malta and VeggyMalta - have twinned to ask MEP candidates ten questions in a campaign we are calling “Tell them how you will vote, before we vote for you”.

The questions are being sent to all candidates contesting the MEP elections, which answers (or lack of response) will be made public. All the questions are all related to vegan and animal rights issues.

Darryl Grima, VeggyMalta Coordinator said that what happened at the European parliament affected the people - from stupid matters like banning the use of words like veggie-burger to how the focus of the new Common Agricultural Policy would be. The reform of the Common Agriculture Policy could have an impact on climate change. Furthermore, the EU parliament had a  role to improve animal welfare issues with the EU.

Leila Scott from Animal Liberation Malta said the NGO had been raising awareness on the conditions in which farm animals lived and it wanted MEPs to do the same. "It is so cruel that an animal should live all its life in a cage. Similarly, we ignore the welfare issues that relate to fish and that fish too feel.”

The 10 questions:

1: Vegan product names

Will you vote to ban the right of free speech and expression and ban vegan products from using words like veggie-burger or vegan-sausage?

2: Vegan regulation

Do you agree that there should be legally binding definition of the terms vegan and vegetarian, to regulate the market for plant-based products?

3: Common Agricultural Policy

Do you agree that the Common Agricultural Policy (post-2020) should shift from intensive animal agriculture towards more sustainable (plant-based) food production and that this shift must be an essential component in order to combat environmental, climate, animal-welfare, and public-health concerns?

4: Plant-based dairy alternatives

Do you agree that all plant-based dairy alternatives (like coconut, almond etc) should have the right to use the term milk? Also do you disagree that in many European countries, plant-based milks are taxed with a higher VAT rate than cow’s milk although they represent eco-friendly alternatives and are used in the same way?

5: Fish welfare

Although the number of farmed fish outnumbers that of other sentient beings, fish welfare is not specifically addressed by EU legislation. Do you agree on the need to introduce new rules to protect the welfare of fish particularly at the time of slaughter and during transport?

6: Animal cages

Every year, around 700 million farm animals are forcibly confined in cages in the EU, some of them living in cages all their lives. Do you agree that the use of cages should be banned with the introduction of higher welfare farming systems within the EU and for all meat products that are imported inside the EU?

7: Animal testing

Whilst the EU has introduced a ban on animal testing for cosmetics, and the recent call for a global ban is applaudable, more that 12 million animals every year are “used” for scientific purposes. Do you agree that the EU should implement a strategy with defined milestones to phase out the use of animals in all research, testing and education, and fund and support the development of alternative methods?

8: Sentient beings

The Lisbon Treaty recognised that animals are sentient beings. Do you agree that more needs to be done by the EU Parliament to ensure that it is acknowledged in all relevant legislative proposals and policy initiatives?

9: Commissioner on Animal Welfare

Do you agree that the Commission should appoint a Commissioner on Animal Welfare which would give a strong signal of commitment to the improvement of the lives of animals.

10: Trade

Improving the standards of animal welfare within the EU is not enough. The access to free trade and international trade agreements should not be a loop hole for allowing access inside the Union to products using poor and inadequate welfare conditions. Do you agree that all imports of animal products from non-EU countries must adhere to the animal welfare standards within the EU?

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